• Tyler E. C. Burnworth

Dancin' on the Sun

Writing, in its most basic form, is the art of creating something from nothing.


The surface of the sun is a ridiculous ten thousand degrees Fahrenheit. As it spins 94 million miles away, it blankets the Earth with about 1000 Watts of power per square meter of landmass, through which twenty-first century humans have devised a means of absorbing that energy and repurposing it for our own needs.


THIS IS ASTRONOMICAL!

(Don't boo me just yet, there's something better than a lame pun, here.)


The sun is powerful enough to sustain all life on Earth, even before Dude McDudeson invented the solar panel. The writer is creator in his own universe, and as such, the power he exerts over his creation must sustain that creation.


Make it real. But do so fantastically.


If an idea resonates with you, build on it. Examine it. Strip it down to it's component atoms, rearrange it and put it back together. When you play with your creation in this way, you gain a deeper understanding of it.


Take this off-the-cuff example:


Sally SteelHeart is a badass bitch. She slays dragons, wears a necklace of their teeth around her neck and carries daggers made of tail spines on her belt. Wow, she's a cool character. But is that all? Why is she slaying mythical creatures instead of gathering ingredients for Paleo meals like the rest of the women in her tribe? Maybe her parents were eaten by dragons when she was a young girl (boring) or dragons raze the countryside and destroy her village (trite) or...maybe she married a dragon, but then she found out where he was on all those overcast days; getting frisky with the Unicorn princess of Stratovarius. She took half his trove in a divorce. Now hunted mercilessly by his dragon brothers and sisters who want their inheritance back, she makes it her mission to slay dragons and spread their wealth amongst the people, until she finds out she's got a toasty bun in the oven; how will she overcome THIS? (weird, but better).


The worst thing the sun could do would be to stop spinning. Stop producing energy. Just a quick nap, shut the light off, and all life on Earth dies. So it is with the writer.


If you give up, you condemn your stories and characters to Davy Jones's Locker. Be the source of your own power. Reach deep inside your heart, that space where the aching emptiness that keeps you up at night dwells, and fill it with story that engages. Characters that cry and laugh and bleed. Twists and turns of dynamic plot that excite.


The struggle you feel in your daily life--give that to your characters. As you watch them (with your fingers on the keyboard) face and overcome obstacles, you too will become strong enough to overcome the negative pressure within yourself.


Life and art imitating each other is a cliche, but it's close to the truth. Life influences art, just as art influences life. One does not attempt to be the other, it attempts to change the other. Follow this rabbit hole down far enough and the changes you make in your art will in turn change you.


Go boldly into the unknown. You will come back better than you were before.



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